Here's a good lesson in why it isn't safe to ride an ATV alone on the Arctic Ocean beach. This snapshot was taken on August 22nd at Nunavak Lagoon about 4 miles southeast of Barrow.
The ATV got stuck in the mud crossing the mouth of the lagoon. The key is in the ignition and the engine is still running.
We were in a group of four, and the second machine got stuck in the mud. While we were fixing up with ropes to pull it out this nice little bear came swimming along, about ten feet out from the edge of the water. It scared the whatever out of us because we didn't see it until it was about 30 feet away. But it was only interested in that walrus carcass it is chewing on in this pictures, and didn't get out of the water until it was closer to the walrus than to us.
The two fellows in the picture above are both visitors. The one with the white hat was on the stuck ATV and was the last one to realize there was a bear headed straight for him. Neither of them of course ever expected to see a polar bear. The other member of the group is a 21 year old young lady who was born and raised in Barrow. She did allow as how she had "never been that close to a polar bear before!"
We decided to just cruise on down the beach and leave the ATV sitting. When we came back the bear was half a mile away acting as if he was groaning about eating too much. We pulled the still running ATV out of the mud and headed on home.